Martin’s House

On a moonless night, Martin pries open
the rusted bulkhead doors of the vacant
house and pushes past curtains of clinging
cobwebs into the dank dark cellar.

His scan spots cans of chili on a shelf.
With these, he creeps up decrepit wooden
stairs to find dated furniture on dusty
oak floors free of footprints. Empty closets

store a torn down comforter, its innards
tumbling out like dirty laundry. Martin
lights his sterno. Before long, the aroma
of Mexican fare permeates the musty air.

He has a talent for breaking into
condemned homes, turning on the water
to fill his jugs, taking some of the canned
food and absconding without a trace.

But friends fancy his new crash pad,
as well. Big John asks for space to meet
the rising demand for his crystal meth.
Martin’s plaintive “no” is ignored.

In just days, dividers carve up the kitchen.
Strangers traffic in and out at all hours.
Martin moves to a nook in the attic,
his latest secluded refuge

Then late one night, cops with guns,
lights, and sirens, clear out the house
and board up all the entries. In his alcove,
Martin escapes the sweep unnoticed.

Days later, Martin hears rumbling and
beeps and squints through the grimy window
in his hidey-hole as bulky dump trucks
and bulldozers amass below. It’s time.

Robert Paul Allen lives on a lake near the coast of Maine. He is surrounded daily by the state’s rugged beauty. He worked in the medical field in patient care and has seen the gamut of human trials and tribulations. The human condition inspires much of his poetry. He has been a serious poet for the past five years and has published 31 poems. His first chapbook, Between the Panes has just been published. He believes he still has something to say. Read other articles by Robert Paul.